The Water Framework Directive introduced a legal framework to protect and restore the aquatic environment across Europe and ensure its long-term, sustainable use. In Ireland the current level of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) leaking from streams draining peaty soils has shown a marked increase compared to values recorded in the 1990s. It is known that DOC is now the main driver of forest-mediated acidification. This is leading to a deterioration in water quality in many streams and has consequences for salmonid fisheries, macroinvertebrate communities and human health through the formation of carcinogenic tri-halomethanes in water treatment plants. The loss of peatland soil carbon to surface waters also has implications in the context of controlling the overall carbon budget for Ireland and in meeting the EU emission targets (EPA, 2015). This project seeks to investigate the mechanisms of dissolved carbon transport and loses in the surface waters of Irish peatland dominated catchments. The chemical composition and source of DOC under various land uses will be determined. The spatial and temporal dynamics of DOC and its interaction with sulphate, nitrogen, phosphate and aluminium will be evaluated. The purpose of this work is to collect data and develop an understanding of system dynamics and carbon propagation pathways that will enable the development of cost effective programmes of measures for inclusion in River Basin Management Plans.
Job Contact Email graduateresearchschool(at)dit.ie
City/Region Dublin, Ireland
Application Deadline 2015-Sep-01